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Archive for May, 2011

Bismarck/Mandan flooding

21 of North Dakota’s 53 counties are federal disaster areas.  The communities of Bismarck/Mandan are dealing with excessive amounts of water from rains in western North Dakota and eastern Montana in recent weeks.  This water flows through the  Missouri River system and is normally controlled by the Garrison Dam.  This year there is so much water that the dam is releasing HUGE  amounts of water and it is raising a ruckus downstream.  The radio is reporting at least 1000 homes will be flooded.  1500 ND Guard troops have been activated.  Some reports say that it may take most of the summer to move the water downstream. The goal is to fill 4,000,000 sandbags.

As  of this morning, I am aware of two LCMS members of Messiah, Mandan who are sandbagging or evacuating their homes.  I know of one LCMS business that is sandbagging.  Messiah, Mandan has 2 RV’s with hookups (they have 3 hookups available) available for folks to use.  Plesae remember the people of these communities in your individual and corporate prayers.


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Sponsor a Kid

At a lunch meeting last week, it was decided to seek sponsorships for 15 Native American children to attend camp at Shepherds HIll Retreat this summer.  Pastor Joel Brandvold will identify the children.  A week at camp costs about $150. To date, 6 sponsorships are available.  Shepherds HIll has hosted Native American children at summer camps in the past. This is an intentional effort to increase that number.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, send your gift (for any amount) to: ND District, PO Box 9029, Fargo, ND 58106-9029.  Make a note on the check that it is for : SHRC summer sponsorship.

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Minnesota Legislators, North Dakota Bankers, and Kenyan Orphans

“Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown who as been elected to his first term in the state House, has been selected by his 30 fellow House Republican freshman to serve as an assistant majority leader”, is the headline I saw on a website not long ago.  Kurt Daudt was a county commissioner when I took him with me to Kenya several years ago.  The title “Commissioner” seemed to have a great influence on the Kenyans that we traveled with.  There was a lot of discussion about Kurt’s political career and what it could mean.  One of these discussions led to a prediction by our Kenyan hosts that Barak Obama would run for President and that he would win.  Kurt made the observation that the Kenyans knew more about our politics than many of us did. 

Kurt has an eye for photography and I appointed him our “official trip photog”.  Here is some of his work.

Young man at Springs of Life School - Kibera


Young man living in Kibera slum.

Another one of our trip mates was Robert Wurl of Hankinson.  Bob works for a bank and has a passion for Mission work and is involved with his youth group.  Bob has been instrumental in the Project 24 progress.

Bob Wurl and Bill Sharpe getting briefed on Kibera

Once last picture from Kurt – probably my all time favorite.

Baby and Mom at Whema Station near Mombassa

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Hibbing Quilts, North Dakota Teachers, and Kenyan Orphans

Quilts for Kenya

Grace Lutheran Church, Hibbing, MN
Quilters of Grace had a unique opportunity come to them a few years back. Quilt forty quilts for orphans in Kenya.
At the time it seemed like a big order. These quilts were also to have a pocket on the back to hold a Catechism. It took months of steady work to complete the job.
The ladies of Hibbing brushed off the threads on our clothes and said, “Well, that’s done.” We did not expect to hear about quilts for Kenya again. They were packed up and sent to St. Louis where the catechisms were placed in the pockets.
Quilting for missions are missions of faith. Quilts are sent off to various places with faith that they will reach those for whom they were meant, and that they will bring comfort and God’s love.
Imagine our surprise and excitement when we received a letter from a worker for the rescue centers. And pictures. A whole disc filled with pictures of happy children’s faces, and quilts on beds, their colors brightening the room.
It was one of those times when we heard God say, “Well done, my children.”

One of the interesting memories that I have of partnerships and the network of connections happened on 2006.  I went with Joanne Drevlow, pictured with the baby, Rachel Sharpe, Bill Sharpes daughter and Roger Weinlaeder to Kenya and we visited the Motango orphanage.  Someone suggested quilts for the children.  Matt Harrison the director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care thought that quilts with Bible verses and a pocket for a Small Catechism would be a good idea.  When we got home I was doing a presentation in Noethern Minnesota and happened to stop by Grace in Hibbing and found quilters busy quilting.  I asked them what they thought and away the project went.  Concordia Publishing gave catechisms and someone carried the quilts over in their luggage.

There is an interesting end to the story.  Countless pictures were taken of the quilts and sent back.  No one that I know can find them.  If anyone out there from Hibbing has more pictures, let me know.

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The Bishop’s Cross

I had the privilege this week to visit with and make a presentation to the Minnesota North District Board of Directors and talk about our partnerships especially the work that we have done in Africa.  From the Hibbing quilting ladies (you’ll hear about them soon) to the LWML, Minnesota North entities and individuals have partnered with many projects including the Project 24 rescue centers.

I will not presume to make an announcement of what the Board decided.  I will leave that to President Fondow and hopefully he will reveal the decision on this site.  I do want to share the presentation that I was able to make to him of a “Bishops Cross”.  But first the story of how the Cross came to be.

When we visited Kenya in February introductions of the visitors started to get awkward.  The concept of a “District President” would take too long to explain, but everyone that we visited with knew what a Bishops was.  The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Kenya has 4 Bishops, one of which is the “Archbishop”.  The duties and responsibilities of the Bishops corresponds to what the District Presidents in the LCMS do.  So we started to introduce President Baneck of North Dakota and President Fondow from Minnesota North with the title, “Bishop”.  At first both of the the District Presidents were reticent to use that title but after a few days they started referring to themselves as Bishops.  Someone in our party asked if we could could have two Bishops crosses made for the two DP’s and when Bishop Obare heard of that he said that he wanted to have them made and have them presented.  They were not ready before we left for the States and so by a circuitous route they made their way from Kenya to my home in North Dakota and I had the honor to present President Fondow with his.

Seter presenting "Bishops Cross to President Fondow

 The Cross is very nice.  Over the background of the globe is the map of Kenya.  Superimposed over both is the Cross of Christ.  Over the cross is the symbol of the Holy Trinity.  Surrounding the Cross is the chalice and wafer symbolizing the Holy Supper and the wafer contains Luther’s Seal.  To the left are the Holy Scriptures and the symbol for Holy Baptism.  Surrounding it all is the name of the church body and at the bottom the year it became a church body – 1948.

We hope to find a proper venue to present “Bishop” Baneck his cross soon.

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Us & Housing

Our Life Together includes Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota.  LSSND  offers a variety of programs across the state of North Dakota.  One of those programs is Lutheran Social Services Housing, Inc.  LSS Housing is in the process of builidng and/or rehabbing and/or managing nearly 200 rental units in small town North Dakota.  These apartments serve a broad spectrum of people and incomes.

Contracts were recently signed to begin construction on a 26 unit apartment building in Tioga.  These projects are funded through the cooperation of many different local, state, federal and non profit coalitions.  Twenty four units were opened in Watford City last year.  And, LSS Housing is one of the partners who will rehab the currrent (soon to be the “old” ) Jamestown hospital. 

To learn more visit

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More dresses

LWML dress project

These dresses also made by the Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church (Fargo) LWML unit are headed to an American Indian reservation shelter.

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BSLC/LWML makes dresses

ELCK Deaconnesses select dresses

LWML dresses in Kenya

Women of Beautiful Savior (Fargo) LWML unit made dresses which were taken to a Project 24 site in Kenya. In this picture, deaconnesses from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya select dresses to be given to girls.

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Minnesota Connections and Project 24

Muslim girl


If you read the Ukunda Tree  you are reading the words of a women by the name of Julie Harrington.  I met her on my last trip and we visited for about 2 minutes in the office in Nairobi.  We promised to keep in touch.  Since then I have learned little bits and pieces of her story.  I believe that she came to Africa from Minnesota, but I haven’t gotten that whole story yet.  Hopefully more later.  Her is one of her stories.

“My work started there because I am working with Heart To Heart Orphan Child Programme-a programme of social ministry through the Lutheran church. I was sent to Ukunda to help with the finishing and set up of Ukunda Rescue Centre as well as develop a heroin addiction recovery programme in Msambweni.

One of my favorite stories comes from a home visit I did with Pastor Bakari Dele. I went with them many times distributing food and other supplies and to visit with orphans waiting for placement in the centre. One day we drove and drove-we drove to the middle of nowhere and then went just beyond that. We drove down a little dirt trail and emerged in a clearing where a young Muslim woman with two children stood looking hopeless. It turns out she had been praying all morning; she had prayed for food because she had no money to buy food and no food in the house for her children. Pastor Dele explained we were there with money and food. He told her that while she prayed to her god it was the True God who heard and answered her prayers. He asked her, “How else do you explain that a white Christian woman has come and delivered you food and money?” She realized Dele was right; Allah had not sent a Muslim team to rescue her; the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had sent someone in the name of Jesus to feed her and her children.

This is why we do what we do!”



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